Climate science is sooooo hard-or maybe not

I have been considering the claim that climate science is so complex only climate scientists can understand it after many years of research.  I was then wondering why Shaun Marcott, a researcher with a masters in geology (so far as I can find) published a study that PROVES the science is right and we are screwed.  A masters.  In geology.  The study was his PhD thesis.

So, we pull back the curtain and find that education and years of study are NOT required to get published and be an expert.  You just have to write what the journals want to hear.

Remember this when climate change advocates start in on years of research and the right degree.  Neither were necessary with Marcott.  If a geologist with a masters can write such an outstanding paper, there is no reason to doubt that PhD physicists who write that ACC is not real are just as qualified to comment and write on ACC.   Meteorologists, physicists, geologists are all qualified to do research and be heard.  The only reason they are not heard is they are not saying what the ACC folks want said.

 

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22 comments on “Climate science is sooooo hard-or maybe not

  1. Yes, I accept peer-reviewed research as scientific and check out “non-reviewed” research. I accept the research from those who believe and those who do not. I accept all research as part of science. Whether or not I accept a specific study as scientifically valid with a defensible conclusion depends on the content and so forth of the study. (What I do not accept is peer-reviewed research is somehow automatically true or valid.)

    There are many climate scientists that are rejected by much of the AGW crowd: Roger Pielke (Professor in the Environmental Studies Program), Judith Curry (chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology), Dr. Richard Lindzen. Dr. John Christy, etc, etc. These are climatologists and/or degree scientists just like ones for the AGW theory. If all of the above review a paper and find problems with methodology and conclusions, I would be wrong not to consider their viewpoints. After all, they study this stuff, right?

    • youkipper says:

      “Whether or not I accept a specific study as scientifically valid with a defensible conclusion depends on the content and so forth of the study.”

      And how are you technically qualified to judge that? The truth is like me you are not, but the reviewers are much more likely to be. If they get it wrong then the researchers in the related science community have a chance to publish their own peer reviewed rebuttal.

      You name 4 skeptical scientists. That is not ‘many’. I could probabley name quite a few more and that would still not be many compared the number of researchers whose research forms the many different threads of evidence supporting AGW. The obvious problem here is that if you are truly sceptical you have just cherry picked the few scientists who you think support what you believe.

      However those 4 have had peer reviewed research on climate related research published. Interestingly all the scientists you name accept that Co2 causes climate change to a far greater degree than you appear to in your blog.

      Do you agree that ‘ humans activities do significantly alter the heat content of the climate system’? Roger Pielke does.

      Do you agree that ‘[W]hether atmospheric gases such as CO2 (and H20, CH4, and others) warm the planet is not an issue where skepticism is plausible.’? Judith Curry does.

      Would you described an IPCC report as “an admirable description of research activities in climate science”? Richard Lindzen did and was a contributor.

      Would you agree “it is scientifically inconceivable that after changing forests into cities, turning millions of acres into irrigated farmland, putting massive quantities of soot and dust into the air, and putting extra greenhouse gases into the air, that the natural course of climate has not changed in some way.”? John Christy does and he was a lead author with the IPCC.

      The research they have actually published mostly agrees with the AGW consensus. Do you accept it and their statements above?

      Where they disagree, is in opinion pieces that mostly downplay the effects other researchers have concluded, (though they have done no such research themselves), and policy that may be adopted, mostly it would seem based purely on their politics.

      • I am completely qualified to judge the correctness of the scientific method in climate science. Anyone who graduated prior to the 80’s or so will recognize science methods violations that would have gotten their projected FLUNKED. None of what I see in climate science would have passed high school science in the past. Not because it’s “complex”, but because it’s wrong.

        If you are asking have I studied calculus and statistics, yes. And chemistry, physics, biology, etc. And computer programming. Are you also suggesting that I have no one who works or studies in these fields whom I can ask? You assume I alone am making the decision on the more advanced areas? I did not say that i made the decision based on only my interpretation if I lacked the knowledge to do so. As noted, most can be dismissed by a well-trained pre-1980 high school student.

        You can find more information on other scientists and some that I listed here: http://www.populartechnology.net/2010/09/prominent-climatologists-skeptical-of.html. Some of these individuals were IPCC reviewers. Yes, many do have peer-reviewed research published. I suggest using something other than wikipedia to check that–Wiki so so pro-climate change they leave out much, much pertinent information. Just an FYI.

        Only completely scientifically illiterate person would say humans have no effect on the planet (applies to Johh Christy remark also). Ants have effect on the planet. Most scientists do not dispute CO2 is a “greenhouse” gas–though there is a small sector. I have not found their arguments compelling at this point. So yes, until further research says otherwise, I agree CO2 plays a part in keeping the planet warm. Richard Lizden: Those of you interest in the “whole truth” might want to check out http://meteo.lcd.lu/globalwarming/Lindzen/canadian_reactions_to_sir_david_king.html. Youkipper here is cherry-picking majorly again.

        Yes, the major disagreement is over the degree of human activity affecting the climate.

        Then if the disagreement must be based on policies and that must be politics, then the climate change people are also following their political ideations. If the policy recommendations determine the motivation, then climate scientists are indeed guilty of trying to foster world government control. You do not seem to grasp the simple reality of your conclusion. If people are motivated by politics, then ALL the researchers are, unless the research is done by robots and the data is 100% free of politics–neither of which is possible. All you have proven is climate scientists and questioners may have different politics. It does not speak to the accuracy of the science. You are arguing that climate change rhetoric is politics, not science.

  2. If you define “peer review” as other scientists checking the work, yes, it is part of science. That means all data is shared openly and all scientists are invited to check the work. If you refer to the acceptance of an article into a journal, then, no, it is not. Pick which definition you use. I use the former, where any scientist can go through the complete data set and verify the conclusions.

    First, the “strange definitions” were demanded so no one was “offended” by a title. If no one objects, I can go back to warmists and skeptics, but I am at lest 95% certain objections will be raised.

    Second, there are thousands of qualified scientists who work in meteorology, physics, geology, and so forth with credentials equivalent to any published climate change researcher, they just don’t reach the only conclusion routinely accepted in the journals. If only 3% of journal articles WITH AN OPINION disagree, and there are thousands of research papers on the disagreement side, there’s no going to be much published.

    See https://watchingthewatchersofdeniers.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/argument-from-authority/
    on this blog for a list of qualifications of scientists doing research. These are actual scientists’s degree that work in the field of climate research. Tell who is the “qualified” climate researcher and to which I should listen.

    • youkipper says:

      “If you define “peer review” as other scientists checking the work, yes, it is part of science.”

      This isn’t HOW I define peer review, it is peer review..

      Definition of PEER REVIEW

      A peer review is an in-depth critique of assumptions, calculations, extrapolations, alternate interpretations, methodology, and acceptance criteria employed, and of conclusions drawn in the original work. Peer reviews confirm the adequacy of the work.
      http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309059437&page=9

      : a process by which something proposed (as for research or publication) is evaluated by a group of experts in the appropriate field
      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/peer%20review

      peer review – evaluate professionally a colleague’s work. Referee. Critique, review – appraise critically;
      http://www.thefreedictionary.com/peer+review

      evaluation of scientific, academic, or professional work by others working in the same field:
      http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/peer-review

      The fact that peer reviewed research is often published in journals, a method used by most scientific institutes and academies who often have their own publications, doesn’t make research any less peer reviewed.

      “Second, there are thousands of qualified scientists who work in meteorology, physics, geology, and so forth with credentials equivalent to any published climate change researcher,”

      But these people either haven’t done the research or the research they have done hasn’t survived “an in-depth critique of assumptions, calculations, extrapolations, alternate interpretations, methodology, and acceptance criteria employed, and of conclusions drawn in the original work”.

      “Tell who is the “qualified” climate researcher and to which I should listen.”

      That is so easy. It is the climate researcher that is publishing current research that has survived “an in-depth critique of assumptions, calculations, extrapolations, alternate interpretations, methodology, and acceptance criteria employed, and of conclusions drawn in the original work”.

      Why would anyone accept anything less? Why would anyone reject research that has been through that in favour of work that hasn’t?

      • I think you are actually agreeing that peer-reviewed does not mean it has to be published in a journal, right?

        Yes, those thousands of researcher are working in climate science just as Michael Mann or Hansen. Their work has been critiqued and put out for public inspection. There are not flaws in the work–it just does not support the AGW theory. There are no methodology errors, some has been replicated, some was done by people who were “climate scientists” until they dared question the “consensus” and point out flaws in the theory.

        These scientists all meet that criteria, so I guess you don’t have a problem with the ones that have found flaws in the AGW theory.

        You’re right–why would I reject these papers after so much review and study. Why would the AGW crowd? Yet they do.

      • youkipper says:

        “I think you are actually agreeing that peer-reviewed does not mean it has to be published in a journal, right?”

        But it has to be peer reviewed using an accepted standard.

        “These scientists all meet that criteria, so I guess you don’t have a problem with the ones that have found flaws in the AGW theory.”

        Of course I don’t have any problem with flaws being found in any scientific theory. But any work showing those flaws has to pass the exact same standard of peer review. I suspect most of the things you consider flaws have never been through any formal peer review process.

        “why would I reject these papers after so much review and study.”

        So you are saying you accept peer reviewed research?

        “Why would the AGW crowd? Yet they do.”

        I’m not sure who the “AGW crowd” are but to my knowledge no AGW researcher has formally rejected a peer reviewed paper without either referring to other peer reviewed science that contradicts it or having their own criticisms of it reviewed.

        Perhaps you do and can provide some examples?

  3. youkipper says:

    Reality check says:

    “Peer-review is NOT basic quality control in climate science. “

    Yes it is. It the the basic quality for all sciences by the evaluation by a groip of experts in the appropriate field. Every definition of ‘peer review’ will tell you much the same so to claim different is to claim an untruth. It is the whole point of peer review and has been used by the royal society since 1660.

    “The paper said virtually nothing new about climate change and reads like several others.”

    Nothing new? It took the global temperature graph back to 11,300 years using 73 globally distributed records. This is about 10 times longer than Mann managed. How is that nothing less than ground breaking?

    “You are missing the point of this post–there are hundreds of questioners with research credentials much higher and years of experience that are summarily dismissed by advocates while they are exempted from the requirements they put on others.”

    Now I know your strange definitions of questioners and advocates I can say that the questioners will be out numbered many many times using similar research credentials and fail to match the credentials of most expert researchers in the field.

  4. Peer-review is NOT basic quality control in climate science. Check out Skeptical Science, or WtD, the blog this was founded to comment on. It is the RULE–no “facts” exist outside of peer-review.

    I suppose my belief was that most people would be familiar with SkS and WtD and would recognize that rule. So, for clarification, while much of the climate change advocate blogs require peer-review, I have no such qualification for research here. I generally refuse YouTube videos (some are okay), some news stories, and so forth. I prefer actual papers, but blog references are okay. I do not label research as peer-reviewed or not.
    Also, since you may not understand my use of the terms “advocate” and “questioner”, advocate replaced warmest and believers, while questioners replaced deniers and skeptics. This was because the usual terms were deemed to be insulting. Advocate and questioner were suitably descriptive and neutral.

    I could have chosen any paper, yes. This blog is about climate change, however, and papers on marijuana and food addiction really don’t have anything to do with climate change. For the record, medical research has many of the shortcomings of climate research. If you find me a research study on medicine that is really poorly done and relates to climate change, I’ll see what I can do with it.

    I have not criticized the content of the paper because it was not the content of the paper that was the problem–Marcott’s own statements say the “hockey stick blade” at the end of the graph is not statistically significant. The paper said virtually nothing new about climate change and reads like several others. The reaction to the paper was the problem. Marcott was hailed as the “New Mann” who would revitalize the hockey stick graph and quash skeptics. All based on a researcher who never made the claim. There was even questions about why the peer-reviewed Science article had the hockey stick in it when the doctoral thesis did not.http://climateaudit.org/2013/03/14/no-uptick-in-marcott-thesis/

    I did read the paper. I could not see anywhere Marcott made the claims that were attributed to him.

    You are missing the point of this post–there are hundreds of questioners with research credentials much higher and years of experience that are summarily dismissed by advocates while they are exempted from the requirements they put on others.

  5. youkipper says:

    “It was Marcott’s PhD dissertation. It belongs to him. Of course he had supervision–but i’s still HIS paper unless all the authors are using the paper for their thesis too. It has his name, he was the spokesman for the paper and he benefited from it.”

    I can find nothing wrong with this. Is this not the way things should be?

    “I understand that qualifications don’t count”

    It might have been good if you had stated this in your initial post because it did not come across to me that way.

    “it’s the advocates that demand years and years and years of research in peer-reviewed journals. Don’t ask me why–ask the people demanding these qualifications.”

    If by ‘advocates’ you mean the people who accept the main stream thinking based on the peer reviewed science, then I think they are only demanding that the research has at least gone through the basic quality control of peer review where the work has been scrutinized and critiqued by experts for obvious errors. Why should people accept anything less?

    “You proves my point with your last statement. I did not “single out” his paper–climate change advocates and the media did that.”

    But my point is still valid. You could have chosen any research in any academic field that the main stream media reported – though I hadn’t heard of Marcrott et al until I seen it mentioned here.

    So your criticism, if it has any validity could be used equally well to criticise research suggesting that marijuana is good for mental health;

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2400032/Could-marijuana-GOOD-mental-health-Breakthrough-study-claims-drug-used-help-treat-depression.html

    or research on food addiction;
    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/aug/20/food-addiction-exist-fat-sugar

    But you singled out a climate change paper that you haven’t even criticised the content of.

  6. youkipper says:

    Are you admitting that the Marcott et al paper was published by scientists who had education and years of experience, the exact opposite of what this blog post suggests? Yes or no?

    I have asked this specific question several times now and so far you have only answered with other points. I hope you don’t mind that I have decided to put it in a post of its own in the hope it might get a straight forward answer.

    • No. This is Marcott’s paper–his doctoral thesis. He was supervised, but he wrote the paper. The alternative which you seem to be saying is a doctoral thesis is NOT written by the person getting the doctorate, but by a committee, meaning the PhD is the collaborative work of several people with the degree given to one person. Either Marcott wrote the paper or all the author’s did and Marcott’s PhD is based on all contributors, not just his.

  7. It was Marcott’s PhD dissertation. It belongs to him. Of course he had supervision–but i’s still HIS paper unless all the authors are using the paper for their thesis too. It has his name, he was the spokesman for the paper and he benefited from it.

    I understand that qualifications don’t count–it’s the advocates that demand years and years and years of research in peer-reviewed journals. Don’t ask me why–ask the people demanding these qualifications.

    You proves my point with your last statement. I did not “single out” his paper–climate change advocates and the media did that. They proclaimed him the new Michael Mann. They celebrated. Again, ask the advocates side, not me.

  8. youkipper says:

    Firstly why is it so hard for you just to admit that the paper by Marcott et al was published by experts? Is it because, not only is it the truth, with the scientists being involved in many pieces of research, but it forces you to admit your post is nothing but a straw man?

    So are you admitting that the Marcott et al paper was published by scientists who had education and years of experience, the exact opposite of what this blog post suggests? Yes or no?

    Second is the fact that if you understand the scientific method then it doesn’t matter what qualifications someone has as long as the scientific method employed is sound. So it wouldn’t matter if the paper was produced by someone with little in the way of academic qualifications, but in this particular case it wasn’t.

    Thirdly why the continual spin with comments like “Other people write PhD papers for graduates”? It was Marcott’s thesis. He was the lead author supported by more experienced scientists and tutors. He will have done most work for it. He will know it better than anyone. That is why he gets most of the credit and attention. That is the way academics educate students. Why single out one for his climate change paper when you haven’t attempted to show that there is any problems with the work and you could have chosen any student in just about any academic field?

  9. youkipper says:

    So are you admitting that the Marcott et al paper was published by scientists who had education and years of experience, the exact opposite of what this blog post suggests?

    And please do start with the insinuation, ” If the other experts wrote the paper for him………”, you claim to understand how the scientific method works, and this is how it works in all areas of scientific research.

    • Other people write PhD papers for graduates?????

      No, it’s not the exact opposite. This does not change the fact that Marcott was hailed as a hero for HIS paper. No one in any commentary I read mentioned anyone but Marcott. The news announcement was about Marcott. The correspondence is to be addressed to Marcott. Marcott, Marcott, Marcott. He is the hero and he is the saviour. Not the et al. I bet there aren’t ten people who can answer off the top of their head who the “et al” are. My point stands–he’s the hero in all of this.

  10. It was Marcott’s doctoral thesis. Yes, he was supervised and supported, but he is the one who will benefit from the paper and the publicity. If the other experts wrote the paper for him………

    Okay, I stand corrected on Hansen. I haven’t had time to go through Hansen’s early work, though I do have it bookmarked and downloaded. Also, if Hansen did not put his name first when supporting students, would that not point to the importance of having one’s name first–as in the case of Marcott. If name placement is not relevant, why bother?

  11. Again, about to be banned.

    Marcott was held up as the hero in this. His name was first, the same as Hansen’s name tends to be first on papers he authors. Marcott was interviewed. He was the “new Mann”, showing the hockey stick was valid.

    Same demand of you as of Glenn: Show me a paper written by a questioner with a PhD that is severely flawed and why. You believe all papers rejected lacked validity–present some. Prove your point. Or stop making the claim.

  12. youkipper says:

    ” I was then wondering why Shaun Marcott, a researcher with a masters in geology (so far as I can find) published a study that PROVES the science is right and we are screwed. A masters. In geology. The study was his PhD thesis.”

    This is another example showing how you don’t understand the scientific method. It wasn’t a paper by Shaun Marcott, it was a paper by Shaun Marcott et al. He was named lead author because it was for his PhD but was supported by more experienced researchers and his tutors. There were three other authors named in his paper who between them are named as authors in over 30 papers published in AAAS Science alone.

    You are correct in one thing, you do have to write what the journals want to hear, and in the case of AAAS Science, probably the worlds leading science journal, they want only good, sound and original research that then has to pass their rigid peer review process before publication.

    So to put it simply, your premise about Marcotts paper not being written by experts is provably wrong.

  13. Yes, an excellent write-up.

  14. Gail Combs says:

    take a look at ‘Bafflegab” by Scott Armstrong and you will never view a ‘Peer-reviewed’ paper the same way again.

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